Background Music - Katy Adelson

Flag Attributed to Kennedy which was also
identical to the flag of Jean Thomas Dulaien

Captain Walter Kennedy

    Born in 1695 at a place called Pelican Stairs in Wapping, London. He may have been of Irish descent due to the fact that Bartholomew Roberts considered him to be Irish. He is best known for his time serving under pirates Bartholomew Roberts and Howell Davis. In his early life in London, Kennedy was said to have been a burglar and pickpocket. Later on he became an apprentice to his father, who was an anchor smith; but continued his thieving ways. The death of his father abruptly ended his apprenticeship, and he then decided to join the Royal Navy. He served there during the War of the Spanish Succession, where he heard the tales of pirates like Henry Morgan and Henry Every, and dreamed of becoming a pirate himself. He was a crew member on the sloop-of-war Buck, part of the fleet that Woodes Rogers took to the Bahamas in 1718 to suppress piracy there. Rogers sent the Buck to Havana with a letter for the Spanish governor there assuring him that he was not a pirate, but was in Nassau to suppress piracy.

    However, as it turned out, some recently pardoned pirates were added to the crew of the Buck, and before it reached Havana, they along with some of the original crew including Kennedy, mutinied, killing the captain Jonathan Bass, along with the other crew members who did not join their mutiny. Howell Davis, another mutineer, was elected captain. Months later, Kennedy was with Davis on the island of Principe when his party was ambushed there by the Portuguese Governor's men. Kennedy was the only member of the shore party to escape back to the ship alive. With Davis dead, Bartholomew Roberts was elected as his successor. Later on while serving under Roberts, Kennedy was left in charge of Roberts ship, the Royal Rover, and a large part of its crew, as Roberts and forty of his crew chased a possible prize in a captured sloop off the coast of Surinam. Kennedy took advantage of this opportunity to abandon Roberts and proclaim himself captain.

    Under his leadership, the crew decided to give up piracy and set sail for Ireland. However, Kennedy had no knowledge of navigation as Roberts did, and when the crew found out, they threatened to throw him overboard, but ultimately did not carry the threat out. Kennedy's poor navigation skills eventually led them to land on the north-west coast of Scotland instead of Ireland. Here the crew tried unsuccessfully to pass themselves off as shipwrecked mariners. Seventeen of the crew were arrested near Edinburgh and put on trial for piracy; nine of them were hanged. Kennedy managed to avoid capture and reached Ireland. After having spent most of his pirate loot in Dublin, he came to Deptford where he is said to have kept a brothel. When one of his prostitutes accused him of theft, he was sent to Bridewell Prison, where as bad luck would have it, he was recognized and denounced as a pirate by the mate of a ship he had taken. Kennedy was quickly put on trial for piracy. He was hanged on July 21, 1721 at Execution Dock. It appears Kennedy was a better thief than a pirate. Perhaps that is why he decided to give up piracy so quickly and return to England.